Graded: Mitsubishi Galant

Welcome to Graded. Here we discuss legendary marques, models, or trim packages and affix a letter grade to a selection of vehicles falling under that topic. The grades mean nothing and are completely arbitrary. I fully encourage you to tell me what I got wrong and how you would grade them instead. Have some fun with it.

The Galant spent over 40 years being a stalwart in the Mitsubishi lineup. During its history, the car was a jack of all trades. It was a coupe, sedan, hardtop and wagon. It was a subcompact, compact and mid-size. At different times, it was equipped with rear-wheel, front-wheel or all-wheel drive.  

But one constant throughout the Galant’s lifespan was the availability of performance models. Names like GTO, FTO, GSR, and VR-4 all adorned the Galant at one time or another. Heck, even the fabled AMG produced a special edition Galant before becoming a Mercedes-Benz exclusive.

Unlike other editions of Graded, this week we are focusing on JDM models for the most part and not those available in North America. Below are ten Galant’s all graded for your reading pleasure.

1973 Mitsubishi Galant GTO 2000 GSR
AutoLobotomy Grade: B+

Built to resemble a mini muscle car, the GTO was a performance hardtop coupe with a distinct American look. In GSR form power came from a 123 hp four-cylinder which was a decent amount for a car weighing just 2,250 lbs.

1974 Mitsubishi Galant FTO 1600 GSR
AutoLobotomy Grade: C+

Smaller than the GTO, the FTO was more conventionally styled to look like a sub-compact sporty coupe. Power came from a 109 hp 1.6-liter engine that propelled the 1,930 lbs. car from 0-60 mph in about the same time as the GTO GSR. Despite similar performance, I still prefer the looks of the GTO.

1978 Mitsubishi Galant Lambda 2000 GSR
AutoLobotomy Grade: C-

A replacement for both the GTO and FTO, the Lambda continued the tradition of being a rear-wheel drive hardtop coupe. The 2000 GSR only made 113 hp and I’m not a fan of this car’s overall styling.

1980 Mitsubishi Galant Lambda 2000 GSR Turbo
AutoLobotomy Grade: C

Performance improved with the second-generation Lambda GSR hardtop thanks to the addition of a turbocharger to the engine. Still, with 143 hp, the car wasn’t exactly fast and the styling is far too similar to just about every other car of that era.   

1984 Mitsubishi Galant Sigma Hardtop 2000 VR
AutoLobotomy Grade: B

For the fifth generation Galant, the Sigma hardtop sedan was the new sporty model and the 2000 VR topped the range. Featuring a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, power was officially rated at 197 hp, but would drop in later years to properly reflect the actual output. Styling for this car was more outlandish and oh-so-‘80s.

1989 Mitsubishi Galant AMG
AutoLobotomy Grade: B+

Before being bought out by Mercedes-Benz, AMG did modify vehicles for other manufacturers. The sixth generation Galant was one of those cars. Although performance was only mildly increased, the interior received a luxurious upgrade and the exterior body kit is awesome.

1990 Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 Turbo Monte Carlo
AutoLobotomy Grade: A

The sixth generation Galant was also the introduction of the fabled VR-4 performance family. Initially, the Galant was used for rallying racing, so it received a turbocharged engine, a five-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive. In 1990, the Monte Carlo special edition had power bumped up to 237 hp.

1995 Mitsubishi Galant Sports GT
AutoLobotomy Grade: A-

For the seventh generation Galant, VR-4 models switched to a 2.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine since the car was no longer homologated for world rally competition. Although the engine produced similar levels of power, it was much smoother and thankfully could still be had with a manual transmission. A pseudo crossover-before-there-where-crossovers version of the car called the Galant Sports GT was also available. I love the two-tone versions of the GT.

1998 Mitsubishi Galant Super VR-4
AutoLobotomy Grade: A+

The ultimate Galant and ultimate VR-4, the Super VR-4 was a one-year only special that had all the aerodynamic body add-ons to match the 276 hp 2.5-liter turbocharged V6 engine. This is a car I’d love to own one day.

2007 Mitsubishi Galant Ralliart
AutoLobotomy Grade: C

Sadly, the Galant ended life as just a regular mid-size family sedan for North American consumption. Available only with an automatic transmission and front wheel drive, the 3,700 lbs. car was not like Galant’s from the past. In 2007 things did improve slightly with the introduction of the Ralliart model that included a more powerful 258 hp V6 engine and some suspension upgrades.

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